Top Gear: 24 Cool Details About Richard Hammond's Car Collection

Richard Hammond from Top Gear BBC, affectionately known as the "Hamster," has a wide variety of vehicles in his stable. The Hamster has everything from rugged Land Rovers to fast and silky smooth Lotus sports cars.

Many people may see a vehicle as a way to get from point A to B. These individuals prefer a vehicle that makes no "noise" or looks like what everyone else has. Also handling is not important to the average consumer, just the ability to provide a smooth ride, comfortable seats, climate controls, in-car entertainment and storage. These features sound lovely but as automobile enthusiasts we want more. A vehicle must have personality, style, power, handling or something to get our attention other than a box with an engine and wheels with a great sound system.  Auto enthusiasts want a connection to the road, more power, individuality. Basically, the automotive enthusiast has a love affair with the machine, a love affair only other enthusiast will understand.

Many enthusiasts will "hang out" at social events and compare their vehicles with others much like the hosts of Top Gear and some of the test vehicles catch their eye along with the vehicles that are already in their collection.

In this article, we will go into detail on each known vehicle in Richard Hammond's collection and provide some fun and interesting facts on each vehicle. So, let's dive into the mighty "Hamster's" car collection and maybe this will provide a little insight on Richard Hammond's love affair with cars and SUVs.

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24 2009 Morgan Aeromax

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The Morgan Aeromax appears to be a modern retro-styled roadster with a proven BMW 4.4 liter V8 and mated to a ZF automatic, or a Getrag 6 speed transmission. The Morgan Aeromax has no anti-roll bars. Yes, you heard correctly. Morgan roadsters have a steel or an aluminum chassis and ash is used for the frame which supports the body making the vehicle lightweight and very responsive. Most people will not buy a vehicle priced over $95,000 with a manual top (soft top) but like I mentioned earlier, automobile enthusiasts are not your average car buyers and neither is the Hamster.

23 2009 Aston Martin DBS Volante

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The Aston Martin DBS Volante is a sexy, sleek and topless bond mobile. Equipped with a V12 rated at 510 Horsepower and an approximate top speed of 190 mph, the extra 200 or so pounds from the convertible running gear is hardly noticed in the performance department.

The DBS comes with either a 6 speed automatic gearbox or a 6 speed manual.

With a 0-60 time of 4.3 seconds, you don't need an oil slick or a smoke screen to get away from the villains in your rear view mirror but I would like those features just for the fun factor. Remember, if you get that dry martini shaken not stirred then be responsible and call for a taxi.

22 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT-8

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It's got a Hemi and 425 HP from a 6.1 liter v8, sign me up. The Challenger is based on a shortened LX platform which is a Dodge Charger or a Chrysler 300. The SRT8 is Dodge's response to the Ford Mustang Cobra and the Chevrolet Camaro SS.

The Challenger SRT8 is equipped with Brembo brake calipers. When it comes to handling, the shortened LX platform will be known when taken to the twisties.

With 4,189 lbs to slosh around, this vehicle is better equipped for the drag strip than the corners so turn off traction control, select drive and drop your right foot.

21 1999 Lotus Esprit 350 Sport

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The Lotus Esprit 350 is a lot like a normal Lotus Esprit but this special edition is only one of 350 out of Hethel Norfolk, UK. The engine also produces 354 PS (European unit of measurement). I was always impressed with the Giugiaro design when I saw the video of Jay Kay driving (frontman of the band Jamiroquai) and Tiff Needell from 5th Gear UK. With only 2,919 lbs, this car hustles through the corners. With a 5 speed manual transmission, the Lotus was observed going 0-60 in 4.7 seconds in the wet. The Esprit 350 appears to be a racing car with a bit of Grand Touring car straight out of the box.

20 2007 Fiat 500 TwinAir

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Wait, before you judge the Hamster, the Fiat 500 has a cult-like following in Italy and most of Europe. Many love the Fiat 500 due to its excellent fuel economy and due to having only 2 cylinders and one turbocharger. The Fiat 500 TwinAir has a curb weight of 2216 lbs and a horsepower rating of approximately 85 HP. The TwinAir is mated with a 6 speed manual transmission means you have a small vehicle that handles like a go-cart with climate controls and a sound system. The TwinAir will do 0-60 in the neighborhood of the mid 10 second range which may not sound very impressive but name one vehicle that gives you 48/57 MPG without the aid of a hybrid electric motor.

19 2013 Porsche 911 GT3

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The 2013 Porsche 911 GT3 is more than your "basic" 911. With a 500 horsepower, naturally aspirated, horizontally opposed flat 6 cylinder engine mated with two optional gearboxes, a seven speed dual clutch automatic transmission or of course the optional 6 speed transmission sends this lightweight rocket from 0-60 time in approximately 3.0 seconds. Many of you might say that the Porsche 911 GT3 is not the most powerful Porsche out of Stuttgart but this vehicle was made to be a driver’s car. This Porsche is at home on a winding road and will test your skills and abilities.

18 2006 Porsche 911 (997) Carrera S

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The 2006 Carrera S is a 3.8 liter horizontally opposed flat 6 engine and a much better improvement over the 2005 model due to revisions made to the IMS (Intermediate Shaft Bearing). The previous model Porsches (997) suffered from this failure and is a costly repair to make requiring the engine to be removed.

The Carrera S is basically a rocket ship with excellent handling.

My experience driving a Carrera S felt as if I had a tie rod in each hand. I felt connected to the road with no turbo boosting at the wrong time causing the rear end to step out. With 355 horsepower and 295 ft. lbs. of torque along with a lightweight body, you will take the long way home every day.

17 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder

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My personal experience with the hardtop Lamborghini Gallardo is something that I will never forget. I was on an autocross track and filled with excitement.

With not much interior room (I am 6'4 at 245 lbs.) I felt like a mutant-sized racing hero thanks to the Gallardo's excellent handling and the growl of the massive V10 behind my head.

The Gallardo Spyder with it's 560 PS/ 552 HP, the PS is short for Pferdestärke which is a European measurement of horsepower. The Gallardo LP560-4 has a 0-60 time of approximately 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 201 mph.

16 1994 Porsche 928

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Although this car is a 1994 model, the Porsche 928 was developed in the 80s and that happens to be my favorite era of sports cars. Take a trip with me in this front engine V8 rear wheel drive Gran Touring sports car. One could cruise long distances while listening to a "Jets" or a "Michael Jackson" audio cassette while doing 120 MPH in comfort. The 1994 model has 345 HP and 369 lbs. of torque and can do 0-60 in 5.4 seconds. The ride was harsh but this Porsche could handle the corners like no other. Many Porsche enthusiast looked down on the 928 due to its non-traditional front engine layout.

15 1994 BMW 850Ci

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The BMW 850CSI has a 5.0 liter V12 but is only rated at 296 HP with either a 6 speed manual or 4 speed automatic transmission. 0-60 times for the 850 CSI is about 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 156 MPH.

The 850CSI is pretty much a Grand Touring sports car with BMW quality.

The vehicle weighs in at 4111 lbs. which is rather heavy but the car has all the luxury fittings. The European model came with an active four wheel steering making it handle like a dream but unfortunately the domestic Model did not come with this feature.

14 1982 Porsche 911 SC

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The air cooled, 3 liter horizontally opposed flat 6 producing 180 hp was in the rear of the 911 SC. Handling was superb for its time and simple controls make this an excellent air cooled Porsche. The flat 6 cylinder engine is mated to a 5 speed manual transmission. With a top speed of 146 mph. The 911 SC rocketed from 0-60 in 6.4 seconds. This car may not scream on the straights but it remains the king of the twisties. The value remains in the $30k mark for a clean example. The European models produced slightly more power due to a lack of U.S. Emissions controls.

13 Land Rover Discovery 4 SDV6 HSE

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The Discovery SDV6 HSE has a 3.0 liter twin turbo V6 diesel with 253 HP and 442 ft lbs of torque. Land Rovers have been the go-to vehicle for getting in and out of mostly any off-road situation as well as the urban jungle.

The Discovery has an 8 speed automatic transmission which saves on fuel when driving along the highway.

The interior has plenty of room for cargo and holds 5 people (including the driver) comfortably. The Disco’s 0-60 time is roughly 8.7 seconds which is good for a Land Rover due to the Disco’s weight. The HSE is the one to get.

12 Land Rover Defender 110 Wagon

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Let me start out by saying this British SUV is a tank with an aluminum body and skills to go anywhere. Build on a stretched Land Rover Defender frame, the Defender 110 wagon has a 2.2 turbo diesel engine with 118 hp. and 262 ft. lbs of torque. You don't get reverse cameras or sensors, no airbags and the stereo is mediocre on its best day. What you have is a no-nonsense, purpose-built off-road vehicle. You will not find the Defender 110 in the Kardashian's garage. I really want one but getting one stateside will take a lot of cash and knowing important people.

11 2016 Ford Mustang GT convertible

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Nothing is more USA than baseball, hotdogs and the Ford Mustang. The Mustang GT convertible is a US icon equipped with a 5.0 V8, let’s not forget 435 hp and 400 ft. lbs of torque with an impressive 0-60 time of 4.3 seconds.

My advice to you is to make sure your hat, wig or toupee is secured to your head because the sheer power will rip it off.

The Recaro seats are just downright impressive and you get a lot of car for under $40,000. The gearboxes available for the Mustang GT is a 6 speed manual or a 10 speed automatic.

10 2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS

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The statement along with the Porsche GT3RS is "built by enthusiasts for enthusiasts" and they are not kidding. RS stands for Racing Sport, with a wider track and less weight. The roof is made of magnesium and with 500 hp on tap along with 338 ft. lbs of torque, this Porsche GT3RS does not need a big turbo to win. The transmission is a PDK automatic. I know what you are thinking but an automatic shifts faster and will not miss a gear.

9 1987 Land Rover Defender

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The Land Rover Defender has a 3.5 liter, 8 cylinder engine mated with a 5 speed manual transmission, with full time four wheel drive. The other engine option is a torquey 2.5 liter turbo diesel engine but the V8 is the motor to have.

This small yet capable vehicle can get you out of most environments with ease.

Save your chuckles for the top speed of 89 mph and a 0-60 time of 11.6 seconds. Where this vehicle lacks surely makes up in vertical ascend and descend skills. Like all Land Rovers, this vehicle has an aluminum body to resist rust/corrosion.

8 1985 Land Rover Range Rover Classic

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When the Range Rover Classic debuted, it was very expensive. Much like a luxury off-roader for Pablo Escobar or a bullet-resistant version for the Queen of England. If you look inside, there is plenty of room for her and her many Corgis. The Range Rover Classic has a full-time all-wheel drive system and a 4 speed automatic ZF transmission. Curb weight of the Range Rover Classic is 5545 lbs this weigh is partially due to a 3.5 liter Rover V8 engine with two Zenith Stromberg Carburetors. All old school Land Rovers are a symbol of British heritage.

7 1979 MG Midget

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The MG Midget, produced by Morris Garages UK, provided the western world with a two-seat sports car that handled well for its time and had rudimentary running gear although easy to work on, many people stateside had a love/hate relationship with the MG Midget.

The engines came in different variations from 948 cc to 1.5 liter 4 cylinder engines.

These cars were light weighing in a 1620 lbs. With a convertible soft top and a hard top as an option, the MG Midget was the British Miata of its time.

6 1969 Jaguar E-Type

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The Jaguar E-Type came with a 3.8 liter inline 6 cylinder engine and had three options for carburetors, SU, Webber, or Zenith-Stromberg. Horsepower was about 265 hp. which was very good for its day. The Jaguar E-Type is a classic and well known around the world by its outline. There were small problems that plagued the E-Type but if you are familiar with a good independent garage or handy with the wrenches then you should be ok but not as a daily driver. The E-Type/XKE came with either a three speed Borg Warner automatic or a 4 speed manual. The series III was offered with a V12 but the 6 is a bit easier to work on.

5 1969 Dodge Charger R/T

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The Dodge Charger needs no introduction. Dodge build the Charger because there was a need for a 4 passenger sports sedan and it was a powerhouse. With a 425 hp Hemi V8, which is named "Hemi" due to its hemispherical combustion chamber and the main advantage of that is very little heat loss. This aids in the combustion process leaving little to no unburnt fuel in the process. The Dodge Charger weighs in at a bit over 4,000 lbs. and does 0-60 in 4.8 seconds. Not very bad for 1969 but this was before the fuel crisis and the federal requirements for catalytic converters.

4 1968 Ford Mustang GT

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The first generation Ford Mustang is an icon and had many different engine options from the weak 220 cu in inline 6 to the 428 cu in Cobra Jet V8. The maximum output was at 335 and that was not bad for 1968.

There were three transmission options available, a three-speed manual, a three-speed automatic and a four-speed manual. 

Steve McQueen drove the iconic 1968 Mustang GT in the film "Bullitt" McQueen was chasing a Dodge Charger in the streets of San Francisco. If you have not seen the movie you must see it for at least the chase scene.

3 1963 Opel Kadett

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The Opel Kadett is a solid German car. It will not win a drag race unless it's racing a bicycle but not all cars are meant to be roaring powerhouses or handle corners like a pro, this vehicle was a well-made car that could give the driver 35/mpg in European trim. The 4 cylinder 993 cc engine has a maximum horsepower rating of 46 hp. It's a carbureted, rear wheel drive solid German vehicle and the styling is very easy on the eyes. Judging by the lines and design, it’s a solid post-war vehicle that was never sold in the UK and this might be the reason Richard Hammond bought this vehicle.

2 1942 Ford GPW

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Why not the Ford GPW/Willys MB? This vehicle has mobilized the US. Army and paved the way for the Willys Jeep. With 54 horsepower and 105 Ft. Lbs. of torque, a fold-down windshield and the ability to carry 660lbs.

The engine is a 134.2 cu 4 cyl and was a vehicle that was easily mass produced due to the lack of materials needed to produce the GPW.

The Willys GPW had a three speed transmission and can tow between a 1000-2000 lbs. depending on the surface. Also to remove any confusion, the correct pronunciation is “Willis”. This icon has paved the way for modern SUVs and Jeeps.

1 1931 Lagonda 2-litre Supercharged.

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For 1931, the Lagonda 2 liter supercharged was a very advanced car for it's time. It had a supercharged 2 liter 4 cylinder engine. The combustion chamber was a hemispherical design like mentioned earlier in the Dodge Charger. This design was to prevent the loss of heat and decrease unburned fuel. The Lagonda had twin overhead cams. This was a feature that some modern vehicles do not have. This vehicle was capable of speeds of 90 mph, remember this was 1931. Prices range from 130,000 – 300,000+ GBP. There are talks from the parent company, Aston Martin to relaunch the Lagonda brand.

Sources: CarandDriver.com, Automobilemagazine.com, classiccars.com

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